Written on the Wind

Sirk's most garish, violent, and famous work was responsible for his discovery by European critics in the late 1950s, and most of his general reputation still centers on this one film. In a style of jukebox colors and outrageous symoblism, Sirk delineates the last days of the oil-baron Hadley dynasty, declining into sterility and death. The opulence and decadence of the film's visuals is said to have inspired Bertolucci's The Conformist, and Written on the Wind remains the apogee of Hollywood Baroque. Dorothy Malone's performance as the nymphomaniac sister won her a well-deserved Oscar, but even she is overshadowed by Robert Stack's brilliant characterization of the impotent and alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley, an Absurdist's tragic hero in a yellow sportscar.

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